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Since we know how important at-home-entertainment is for all of us – every week we do a little “what’s getting released on DVD/on demand/Netflix this week” round up for you, with nice little excerpts of our past reviews and more. You’ll love it. Trust us.

OUT THIS WEEK & PROCEED WITH CAUTION:

  • Aloha. Here’s what we said in our original review:
    Romantic comedies are supposed to be a little silly. They are comedies, after all, but Aloha may just be one of the silliest movies I’ve ever seen. I don’t necessarily mean that in a bad way, but I definitely don’t mean it in a good way, either. It’s hard to explain. It’s a strange jumble of military talk, space talk, ancient Hawaiian legends, lip biting, fast-talking, and Bradley Cooper being a weirdo. I can’t really tell if Aloha is the most awkward, weird, and uncomfortable romantic comedy I’ve ever seen, or if I just don’t understand the genre at all. To be honest, it might actually be a little bit of both.
  • The Water Diviner. Here’s what we said in our original review:
    The closest The Water Diviner comes to central thesis is the universal idea that all fathers will inevitably fail their sons – indeed, family members of all sorts will inevitably fail one another – so how do we forgive ourselves and them? Specifically, The Water Diviner suggests Connor failed by allowing his sons to go off to war, which is an interesting and politically pungent notion. But we get no setup: Was the boys’ departure a matter of contention in the home? Did their mother protest? Did Connor protest, but then relent? Or was he as swept up in the grand romance of the war as much as his sons were? Answering these questions is rather central to the story’s dramatic tension, but it whiffs, and just decides three-fourths of the way through that, aha, that’s the theme!

OUT THIS WEEK & WORTH YOUR TIME:

  • Citizenfour. Here’s what we said in our original review:
    It was easy to be dismissive of Edward Snowden last summer. The former NSA contractor looked like a malnourished dork, the sort of guy who would neg women at bars who were minding their own business. This unfair characterization is partly deliberate on Snowden’s part – NSA overreach was always meant to be the story, not Snowden himself – and we only had a handful of interviews/quotes with which to understand him (he spoke in libertarian friendly, freedom-loving platitudes). Among other things, the compelling documentary Citizenfour humanizes Snowden. He is the central figure in a story that combines espionage with intrepid journalism, as well as righteous anger against an overarching conspiracy that somehow normalized the utter erosion of our privacy. No matter what we might think of Snowden, director Laura Poitras forces us to reconsider our biases, which speaks to the depth of her cinematic forcefulness.

INSTANT VIEWING OF THE WEEK:

  • The Road. Here’s what we said in our interview with director John Hillcoat:
    Since the success of No Country for Old Men, filmmakers and studios renewed interest in Cormac McCarthy’s seemingly un-adaptable fiction.  And just in time for Thanksgiving, The Road tells the story of a father and son struggling to survive in a dreary post-apocalyptic hellscape. Along the way, they encounter marauders, cannibals, and above all starvation. In some ways, The Road is the most challenging McCarthy novel to adapt. It’s written with esoteric prose, and a highly episodic structure. Director John Hillcoat is nonetheless a good match for the material. His previous effort, The Proposition, was partially inspired by Blood Meridian, another McCarthy novel. The Road was slated for a 2008 release, but delayed so the final cut could match Hillcoat’s vision. The result is a powerful experience, one that should not be considered lightly.
  • Side Effects.  Here’s what we said in our original review:
    Most ads for prescription drugs are baffling. When the pleasant sounding voice actor obediently lists all the unpleasant, unintended consequences, they invariably sound worse than the condition that’s being treated. That uneasy tension is a part of Side Effects, the new thriller from Steven Soderbergh. While prescriptions are the catalyst for the plot, Soderbergh and screenwriter Scott Z. Burns are not so interested in pharmaceutical industry. Instead, their movie is downright Hitchcockian, with themes and shots that the Master of Suspense loved. Despite the inspiration, Soderbergh still makes the movie his, and his cold distance from his actors creates an unusual kind of suspense.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QGe2ZE0prGg
  • Something in the Air. Here’s what we said in our original review:
    Something in the Air is the not the first time a top filmmaker looked back fondly on his youth. In 2003’s The Dreamers, Bernardo Bertolucci used blossoming sexuality and a decaying apartment as a metaphor for all the tumult during May 1968 in Paris. This year David Chase came out with Not Fade Away, wherein a talented musician gives up fame for adulthood. Gilles has a similar transition: he’s always interested in film, and after his brief stint as a radical, he finds himself on a movie set where he sneaks cigarettes from the crew. Gilles will grow up to be a filmmaker, and who knows? Maybe his cinematic revisit of his youth will actually include some internal conflict.

Yup, so there’s our latest watch instantly guide. Let us know what you’re watching in the comments!

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